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Keywords:

  • atopy;
  • atopic heredity;
  • diet in infancy;
  • atopic eczema;
  • atopy prevention

ABSTRACT. The influence of a family history of atopy on atopic morbidity, and relationships between diet in infancy and allergic manifestations at the ages of one and five years were prospectively studied in 91 children. A control group consisted of 72 children with no family history of atopy. At the age of one year, atopic manifestations were found in 19 % of 163 children, in 23 % of those with a family history of atopy and in 14 % of those with no such history. Skin problems were more common in children with a family history of atopy (43 %) than in the control children (19 %). Of the children with a family history of atopy, 23 % had prolonged rhinorrhoea during infancy. The corresponding figure in children with no family history of atopy was 10 %. Prolonged rhinorrhoea during infancy correlated with parental smoking only in children with a family history of atopy (47 % vs. 18 %). At the age of five years, atopic disease was found in 17 % of 128 children, 24 % of those with a family history of atopy and 9 % of those with no such history. Atopic eczema was more common in children with a family history of atopy, irrespective of the diet consumed during infancy. Atopic signs were found in about half of all the children with a family history of atopy. If atopy had been present in the family, the child usually exhibited the same manifestation. Onset of atopic manifestations was not prevented or delayed.